Be the leader your people want: leadership lessons from proven leaders.

Author:Evangelista, Robert

What does leadership look like to your employees? Should you care?

If you listen to your team, the answer is a resounding "yes." In fact, in a recent study on leadership that involved over 3,000 respondents in 14 countries, it was found that a majority of organizations do not have high confidence in their leaders' abilities.

Think it doesn't make that big of a difference? Think again. The same study found that employees with strong leaders are significantly more productive than those with weak leaders. In fact, strong leaders foster an environment where employees are 37 percent more likely to outperform work groups with weak leaders. And it gets worse in larger organizations, since the least amount of confidence is placed in first- and mid-level leadership.

Employees want to succeed. Human pride and competitiveness takes over for the majority of people and drives their desire to do a good job. Ignoring the 5 percent that are high-performing stars and the 5 percent that should be fired, that leaves a significant number who need your support to excel.

Consider what your employees need from you and your fellow leaders. They don't want blank stares from clueless wimps. They don't want a barrage of orders from dictator bosses. They want leadership. And we're all capable of it.

I: Give them a plan that can win

Sure, most of us have shared visions, goals, targets and well-crafted mission statements with our team. Chances are, we've also seen employees roll their eyes at them, as well. Here, however, it is the details that grow from a vision that will truly make a difference to your employees. They need to know how your vision relates to them. How it impacts their daily tasks. Conversely, you as a leader need them to understand how they can contribute to the reality of that vision. Employers need employees executing the fine details that will execute strategies and procedures to deliver bottom-line results.

When Delphi Corp. was spun off from General Motors, J.T. Battenberg III was ready with a vision. But he knew he needed more than that. "We needed to show our people that we were serious," he explained. "We needed to convince them that we had not just a destination, but a detailed plan on how we were going to get there." An "old company," long entrenched in "old ways," would have to learn some new tricks. As Battenberg noted, "We had to help them understand what they would need to do differently in order to help Delphi get to where we dreamed of...

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